Accelerate Kootenays was Canada’s first community driven strategy to build a clean transportation network, and was a catalyst for subsequent regional EV charging infrastructure strategies in other jurisdictions, including Southern Alberta (Peaks to Prairies), Central and Northern BC (Charge North) and Central/Northern Alberta. CEA facilitated the Accelerate Kootenays project from early feasibility, mapping and grant-writing through to managing installations, media releases and celebrations.
The driving principle that CEA followed in managing this complex, multi-partner project was that a community-led process would ensure solutions were relevant to the context - technology, service agreements, alerts, etc, would all be appropriate for the unique needs and opportunities of the Kootenays.
While the project started as a way to address the technical barrier to EV adaptation, it became an opportunity for tourism, economic development and emissions reductions across a large rural region. The impact of Accelerate Kootenays will continue for years to come and should be celebrated as a legacy project by the Regional Districts that demonstrated the leadership and innovation to make it happen.
Strategic siting of 13 DC fast chargers and 40 Level 2s ensured a network that holistically supported electric travel to and within the region. Balancing fast charging stations with Level 2 stations maximized project budget while providing tourism opportunities for host communities.
Outreach & Education
Alongside addressing access to charging infrastructure, the project team also identified the lack of awareness of EV technology in the region. In addition to a holistic multimedia and online campaign to bring awareness to EVs, CEA also leveraged the momentum of Accelerate Kootenays to build the #RuralEV Mobile Showcase to communities across the region.
Over the course of 2 years, CEA staff drove a Chevrolet Bolt to community events across the region, offering information as well as test drives. This proved to be a successful way of demystifying EVs, allowing Kootenay residents to be able to see, feel and experience EVs.
"after test driving your EV... we finally decided to just do it! We brought home our beautiful bouncing baby [Chevrolet] Bolt yesterday and we are so excited! Thank you for giving us the chance to try it out and the confidence to know we would be happy with it!"
A graphic summary of the #RuralEV Mobil Showcase is here.